The District of Taylor held the 44th Annual Worlds Invitational Gold Panning Championships July 29-31st at Peace Island Park. The event took place at the Rocky Mountain Fort which was established in 1794 as a trading post for the Beaver and Sikanni First Nations and as a supply depot to further expeditions. If you are driving by Peace Island Park stop to tour the historic fort and museum.
In 1972 Dorse Prosser and Jesse Starnes began this annual championship with a vision to bring the community together. Today, the championship attracts panners from all over the world, Holland, Australia, USA, across Canada, and most importantly from the Peace Region.
The weekend kicked off with a parade on Friday night followed by two days of claim skating, gold panning, bannock baking, metal detecting, and arts and crafts. Plus, a chance to walk away with some real gold! But, you had to pan for it.
There were three levels of gold panning categories: Class “A” the certified professionals, Class “B” the non-professionals, and Class “C” the adults/juveniles.
It was great to see how many children got involved and participated in the championships. We didn’t enter the competition, but we did pan for fun and walked away with a couple of flakes of gold and a copper ball.
Growing up in the Cariboo (150 Mile House) I was surrounded by a rich history of the gold rush trail and gold panning. I spent many summers in Bakerville as a child and until recently my family operated Bowron Lake Provincial Park (they decided to retire after 6 summers), so as an adult, I got to enjoy the beauty of the historical village.
Moving to the North Peace I was aware of the fur trading history of the region (blog to follow on the Fort St John North Peace Museum and the region’s history), but I didn’t know much about the gold rush era in the North Peace.
The North Peace was a corridor to get to Yukon and Alaska on the Klondike Gold Rush trail, but not much panning was done here, maybe just the locals tried their luck on the banks of the local rivers. Prospectors did take advantage of the extensive supplies that were available at the trading posts, before they continued on their journey.